Tag Archives: brexit

Brexit: Will it ever happen?

24 Jan

7 months on from the vote and I am starting to think that Brexit won’t happen. Today there was a ruling by the Supreme Court that the government needs to consult with Parliament before triggering the process for leaving the European Union. The British government are convinced that the ball would start rolling at the end of March but now that is looking unlikely. It seems like there is no direction at all anyway. Maybe they have an amazing, radical plan that will blindside us all and we will all react like “Ohhhhh I see! Very clever!”. I would love that – really I would – but I can’t see that happening. Can you?

I won’t be shy to admit that I voted to remain in the EU. I am not some liberal, wishy-washy, wetter than a dishcloth person. In fact, on many issues, I am the exact opposite. If I was still living in the UK, I am convinced that I too would have voted to leave. However, living in another country and being able to open my eyes to new ways of life and new cultures made me change my mind. It is hard to describe exactly but somehow being an expat and leaving every thing that you know behind changes you emotionally and psychologically.

I don’t mean for this to sound patronising or big-headed, nor do I mean for it to sound as if I think that people who have not expatriated are somehow uneducated and neanderthal-like. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and everyone’s opinions are based on their own experiences. My experiences are different to my friends, my family, my neighbours and anyone else that I might meet in life. For me, it made sense to remain within the EU based on the lack of a plan but also because together we are stronger. The EU is by no stretch of the imagination a perfect organisation but reform will only come from within.eu-1473958__340

Of course, part of my wanting to remain in the EU was purely selfish. Even though Switzerland is not an EU member state, my work and residence permit is valid because I am an EU citizen. There are rigourous conditions that someone wanting to work in Switzerland has to meet to get a work permit. If you are an EU national, it is easier to get than if you are a non-EU national. What happens then to British people working and living abroad when one of the conditions that you are allowed to reside there is suddenly whipped out from under your feet?

I felt sick to my stomach and nervous on the morning of 24th June 2016 when I woke up to the news of the result. This wasn’t helped when a colleague came up to me later that day and said “Well, you won’t be working here much longer!”. The rest of the day I had to endure questions like “Just how stupid are British people? and “What the hell are you going to do now?” I assumed that these were rhetorical questions and didn’t dignify them with a response.

7 months on I still feel nervous for the future, although people keep telling me that nothing will change. No one has yet confirmed what will happen to the British expats who have made the life-changing decision to move to another country. In the meantime, I will sit and wait for the answers and have to trust that my choice to live in another country to the one I was born will be negotiated well and fairly by the British government and our friends in Europe.




4 years and counting…

24 Oct

It has now been over 4 years since I made the move over to Switzerland and what a four years it has been. I don’t know where to start really with what has happened since I arrived. Looking back, I hated the first eighteen months here. I felt lonely and was confused by how different things were here. But now I feel very much at home.

The language barrier is still somewhat of an issue but the weekly German lessons are certainly helping. I have blips when I just get so frustrated that I want to quit and I think that German is the worst possible language in the world to try to master but there are other times when I can handle an everyday situation with ease and I remember how far I have come. It’s still not quite zero to hero though.

People at home continue to ask me how long I will be staying here for. The honest answer is that I just don’t know. I feel that my life quality is a lot better here than it would be if I was still in England. I have the huge opportunity of being able travel more easily which is something that I love. This is partly due to the fact that I enjoy more disposable income and that I live directly in the centre of Europe so places are easier to get to (one of the main reasons I decided to come and live here in the first place). Although people, and by people I mean foreigners, say that the Swiss culture is boring and too quiet, I like it and, more importantly, it suits me.

However, never say never. After the Brexit vote, I can’t be 100% sure that I can stay in Switzerland in the long term, with the uncertainty about what will happen when the UK finally leave the EU. In the meantime, I need to enjoy the time that I have here and see what the future holds.